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getting out the WORD - the second sunday of easter
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 11:48

the PRAYER...
Almighty God, with joy we celebrate the day of our Lord's resurrection. By the grace of Christ among us, enable us to show the power of the resurrection in all that we say and do, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
But [Thomas] said to [the disciples], "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

John 20:19-31

It was something Thomas said that made me curious. So, I took a few moments and wandered through the building looking for paintings of Jesus. I found five. Leonardo DaVinci's "The Last Supper." Heinrich Hoffman's "Christ in Gethsemane." "Head of Christ" by Warner Sallman. Each portrayed Jesus prior to the cross. So, no marks. A fourth showed the Risen Christ holding out his hands. I always thought he was, simply, reaching out in welcome, in acceptance. But looking closer, he was showing "the mark of the nails" in his hands!

The last picture, though, surprised me. It was another by Warner Sallman. "Christ at Heart's Door." It's the artist's interpretation of Revelation 3:20 , "I'm standing at the door knocking." And no matter how long and hard I looked, I couldn't see anything. A shadow? Maybe a scratch? But nothing like a mark! A painting picturing "a central theological principle" of American Christianity! Receiving Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! Inviting Christ into our heart! And not a single scar! Not even a scratch!

For Thomas, it was all about wounds. Gory! Even grotesque! Finger in the mark! Hand in the side! But maybe Thomas wasn't as "doubting" as we think. Maybe he, just, had his priorities right. We don't believe in, merely, Jesus! We believe in Jesus' innocent suffering and dying! In his holy and precious blood! Maybe Thomas was right! Unless we see and touch the wounds, maybe there, really, is no believing!

Bob Barndt, pastor

getting out the WORD - the resurrection of our lord
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 05 April 2018 10:00

the PRAYER...
O God, you gave your only Son to suffer death on the cross for our redemption, and by his glorious resurrection you delivered us from the power of death. Make us die every day to sin, that we may live with him forever in the joy of the resurrection, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
"In baptism our gracious heavenly Father frees us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Evangelical Lutheran Worship
"Holy Baptism"

Sunday was a special day! Yes, it was Easter. But it was, even more, the day our granddaughter was baptized! Freed from sin and death! Joined to the dying and rising of Christ! Born a child of a fallen humanity; reborn a child of god! A lot happened in those three shellfuls of water! But after it was over, I wondered...

How much had really changed? How "new" was Emma? Or, for that matter, how was god any different? As far as we could see, she was the same three-month-old we'd carried forward. Still fussed. Still cried. Still depended on us. And god? Well, how much more could god possibly love her now that she was baptized? How much more saved could she get? Even if she'd been dunked in an ocean or lived a hundred years, I can't believe that god could do any more than what god had, already, done!

No, Emma was saved not on Easter morning, but two thousand years ago, on a dusty hilltop, outside the walls of Jerusalem. Saved right from the start! Loved from the very beginning! And maybe, this past weekend, god just, finally, got around to letting her - and us - know all about it!

Bob Barndt, pastor

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